Issi Rozen, guitar; Gilad Barkan, piano; Thomas Kneeland, bass; Harvey Wirht, drums
Opening with a traditional tune "Sheharhoret", Issi Rozen immediately shows himself to be a thoughtful, melodic guitar player; there is softness about his playing, languid without quite being melancholic. The piano of Gilad Barkan is up to following the leader in mirroring the atmosphere; whilst Harvey Wirht on drums goes off into polyrhythmic bliss. "Ramat Gan" is soaked with Middle Eastern density and mystique, and the piano of Barkan is never out of place. Thomas Kneeland expresses fully on the bass with many a strong solo including those bowed; "Dreamland" is aptly named and offers the proper continuity for the album. Charlie Parker's "Segment" lifts the pulse, but the rich mellow tone of Rozen does not alter. "Sixteen" joins "Segment" as an upbeat number. "Inspiration" is the name of the penultimate track, but the title is some time in coming as Rozen and Barkan wind wistfully down its road, with the fiercer drumming of Wirht urging them on. Rozen wrote eight of the ten tracks; his music is tense, minor, sometimes fraught, often reaching deep and offering something for that special mood. The group is tight, well balanced and blends; excellent stuff.
by Ferdinand Maylin
New Sounds - CD Reviews